A student accommodation search portal has speculated on how the sector could change in the long term as Coronavirus hits education.
“Whilst we can’t foresee how Covid will affect universities in the future, we can assume demand will remain high as people strive for normality and a focus which studying provides” explains Dan Roberts, managing director of Mystudenthalls.
“However it’s likely that given the impact of the virus is likely to span years, this will bring some changes to the way that student accommodation is developed and lived in, with more focus as a student hub for living, socialising and maintaining wellbeing in one space” he continues.
Roberts says that with students already increasingly moving away from partying before the pandemic, there is also a much bigger focus from accommodation providers on maintaining student health - something which becomes more relevant given the mental health impact of lockdown.
“Last year Mystudenthalls introduced our Quieter Halls badge: the first official accreditation for quieter student accommodation, aiming to provide a broader range of living environments for student wellbeing” explains Roberts.
“More accommodation providers should and will be developing initiatives to provide students with spaces that support them in both their learning and mental health, as it becomes a larger responsibility given the increased time spent there.”
Roberts believes that the process of making friends and meeting new people will remain a major part of going to university, but is thrown into disarray by the virus.
“We know that government distancing and socialising rules mean even more limited spontaneous interaction for students. It is likely that students will need to be more creative with the ways they meet and socialise outside of their classes this year; societies and study groups largely look set to move online, just as Freshers events and lectures have done” adds Roberts.
“While student socialising this year presents the opportunity for many to have smaller, closer-knit friendship groups, there is also the potential for students to fall through the cracks and miss out on making friends. This is why it is more important than ever that universities and student accommodation providers are offering students increased support.”